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To share or not to share? (non-)violence, scarcity and resource access in Somali Region, Ethiopia


  • Ayalneh Bogale
  • Benedikt Korf


Scholars in the environmental security tradition have sought to explicate the links between environmental scarcity (or degradation) and the onset of different forms of political violence and how these are mediated by institutional mechanisms. The Malthusian trap here is not a direct deterministic relationship, but rather a possibility, where environmental scarcity when it coincides with socio-economic processes of rent-seeking and exclusion triggers political conditions ripe for violent struggles. This a priori attention to scarcity as causal mechanism blurs our understanding why violence occurs in some and does not in other places. Our research strategy is therefore different: we study a case of non-violent relations between resource users under conditions of environmental scarcity (due to drought) and political instability and look into the crucial role of local institutions in governing competing resource claims. Our case from the violence-prone Somali Region, Ethiopia analyses how agro-pastoralist communities develop sharing arrangements on pasture resources with intruding pastoralist communities in drought years, even though this places additional pressure on their grazing resource. A household survey investigates the determinants for different households in the agro-pastoralist community, asset-poor and wealthy ones, to enter into different types of sharing arrangements. Our findings suggest that resource sharing offers asset-poor households opportunities to stabilise and enhance their asset-base in drought years, providing incentives for cooperative rather than conflicting relations with intruding pastoralists.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayalneh Bogale & Benedikt Korf, 2007. "To share or not to share? (non-)violence, scarcity and resource access in Somali Region, Ethiopia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(4), pages 743-765.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:43:y:2007:i:4:p:743-765
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380701260093

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Beyene, Fekadu, 2013. "Multiple tournaments and sustained defection: Why do negotiations fail to secure resource access between pastoral and agropastoral groups in Ethiopia?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 79-87.
    2. Jeetendra P. Aryal & Stein T. Holden, 2012. "Livestock and land share contracts in a Hindu society," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 43(5), pages 593-606, September.
    3. Tisdell, Clement A., 2008. "BEHAVIOURS OF CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS. Analysis based on New (and not so new) Institutional Economics," Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Discussion Papers 6185, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    4. Theesfeld, Insa & Schleyer, Christian & Callois, Jean-Marc & Aznar, Olivier, 2008. "Ex-ante Policy Assessment from an Institutional Perspective. A Procedure for Institutional Compatibility Assessment (PICA)," Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Discussion Papers 6112, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    5. Gatzweiler, Franz W. & Volkmann, Jorg, 2007. "Beyond Economic Efficiency in Biodiversity Conservation," Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Discussion Papers 7704, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    6. Fekadu Beyene, 2015. "Determinants of food security under changing land-use systems among pastoral and agro-pastoral households in eastern Ethiopia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1163-1182, October.
    7. Beyene, Fekadu & Korf, Benedikt, 2008. "Unmaking the commons: Collective action, property rights and resource appropriation among (agro-) pastoralists in eastern Ethiopia," CAPRi working papers 88, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Beyene, Fekadu, 2007. "The Role of Customary Institutions in Managing Conflict on Grazing Land: A Study from Mieso District, Eastern Ethiopia," Institutional Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Discussion Papers 7703, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics.
    9. Pfaff, Alexander & VĂ©lez, Maria Alejandra & Ramos, Pablo Andres & Molina, Adriana, 2015. "Framed field experiment on resource scarcity & extraction: Path-dependent generosity within sequential water appropriation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 416-429.

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